Friday, April 8, 2011

Healing Perspectives: Ascendant Council

As their name suggests, the Ascendant Council is a council type fight consisting of elemental foes. This fight is incredibly fun while also being a bit chaotic. Just as a quick reminder, I've written out these posts purely from a perspective of what a healer needs to know and be aware of during a fight. Hopefully, this will serve as a good prep for the fight as well a concise checklist of reminders before taking on the boss. I recommend checking out sources like tankspot for the complete guide to the fight. As healers, it's time to put on our dancing shoes and see what's in store!



This fight consists of three distinct phases:
  • Phase 1: Ignacious (Fire) and Feludious (Water) are our foes
  • Phase 2: Arion (Air) and Terrestra (Earth) take over chomping
  • Phase 3: They combine to form the Elementium Monstrosity who, I might add, bears no resemblance to my hero Captain Planet.
Transitions to the next phase take place when either of the elementals hit 25% hp. The Monstrosity's health in phase 3 is determined by the remaining health of all 4 ascendants - so it is key that the pairs in phases 1 and 2 are brought to 25% close to the same time.

Phase 1: Ignacious and Feludious
This phase isn't too movement intensive but has bursts of heavy AoE healing.

Abilities:
  • Waterlogged - Feludious uses an ability, Water Bomb, which on hitting players gives them the Waterlogged debuff. This debuff slows movement and increases damage taken from Feludious' abilities. It is imperative to get rid of this debuff as soon as you get it and to do that we use...
  • Inferno Leap - ...a path of fire. Ignacious will occasionally leap at a player (with Inferno Leap) and charge back to his original position leaving a path of flame behind him. Usually good to stay out of, but be sure to dive right into the fire if you're Waterlogged.
  • Heart of Ice and Burning Blood - These are abilities cast at a random player by Feludious and Ignacious respectively. They do increasing damage the longer they're on a player, and when dispelled, buff players in range to increase damage against the opposing elemental. Since the melee and ranged are split up in this phase, it is ideal to dispel the debuff when the player with the debuff is close to the right group for the damage increase buff.
  • Aegis of Flame - Igancious puts up a shield and channels an AoE on the entire raid. His spell, Rising Flames, can only be interrupted when the raid breaks though his shield which must be done as soon as possible as the spell does increasing damage the longer he channels it.
Healing Strat:
  • Dispel debuffs - Our group decided to ignore the mechanics of Heart of Ice and Burning Blood, particularly in the beginning while still getting used to the phases and the encounter. We found that the fight turned more chaotic when people scrambled around to get the debuffs to the right group and simply dispelling them simplifies things early on.
  • Get rid of Waterlogged ASAP - This is really important as leaving it on more often than not results in getting instantly killed by Feludious' Glaciate ability.
  • Pop tree during the second  Aegis - Healing through Aegis of Flame is the most important part of this phase. I chose to save my tree for the second Aegis since it really helps with the incoming damage and also helps the entire raid go into phase 2 topped off. Phase 2 is much more chaotic and having everyone close to full gives the raid a good head start.

Phase 2: Arion and Terrestra
This phase is marked by heavy movement to grab appropriate debuffs. It's important to watch out for the elementals' specials in this phase. Also, beware of range issues that can sneak up on you.

Abilities:

Both Arion and Terrestra have ultimate abilities that will instantly kill any player if not avoided. They alternate between these abilities and the key to avoiding them is getting the appropriate debuff.
  • Throughout the room Arion will spawn a few tornadoes which give the player Swirling Winds if they're caught in them.This debuff protects us from Terrestra's ultimate chomp, Quake.
  • Similarly, Terrestra spawns gravity wells in the room which cause the Grounded debuff. This protects us from Arion's monster ability, Thundershock.
  • The tricky part of this fight is keeping track of which special ability is about to be cast, and having the appropriate debuff to successfully cheat death.
  • Lightning Blast - Hits for a good chunk of damage and is cast right after Arion teleports around the room.
  • Lightning Rod - This is another dangerous one to watch out for. Arion will make a random player a Lightning Rod and subsequently cast chain lightning at them. The chain lightning can hit pretty hard so it's imperative to run away from the raid if you have this asap. If you're caught between running away and getting the appropriate debuff, running away makes sense since chain lightning ensures that other raid members will die.
Healing Strat:
  • Grab the appropriate debuff ASAP - The cycle of specials always starts out with Terrestra's Quake and then alternates. Remember to always get into the tornado at the beginning and alternate debuffs from there.
  • Heavy heals on the tank for Lightning Blast - Due to Arion's annoying teleportation, this spell isn't always interrupted due to range issues. Stack yummy HoTs on the tank to heal through the damage.
  • Run away from the raid if you have Lightning Rod - This one's really important as staying in range of others pretty much guarantees that members will die, and that's always bad. Run away and continue healing as much as possible. If you had the hard choice of running away or avoiding the special, run away while popping barkskin and HoT up liberally to give yourself a chance to survive eating the special. 
Phase 3: Elementium Monstrosity
The final burn phase - a true race to the finish! Pop cooldowns and heal like no tomorrow. 

Abilities:
  • Electric Instability - The single spell that makes this the adraneline rush phase that it is. This spell does raidwide AoE damage which increases the longer the monstrosity is alive. It is imperative that the monstrosity be burned down asap since the damage from Electric Instability will reach an unhealable point fairly quickly.
  • Gravity Crush - The big one to watch out for, Gravity Crush encases a random player in a bubble, lifts them up and does consistent damage to them for 6 seconds after which they are left to fall to their doom.
  • Liquid Ice - Patches of ice that increase the monstrosity's damage the longer he stands in them. He should be kited out of these. Avoid the ice.
  • Lava Seed - Little bombs of fire that shower the room. Again, something to be avoided.
Healing Strat:
  • Use the first few seconds to pop any mana cooldowns such as Innervate or a mana pot if you're low - You will need all the mana you can have for this phase, particularly if Phase 2 didn't provide any chances to regen.
  • Bring out the tree and top everyone off while moving with the raid - This is my favourite part since it seemed to me like the tree was really made for this. Awesome instant heals is resto in full power! Let the lifeblooms bloom and bring everyone up as much possible. As healers, we're literally buying the raid as much time as we possibly can.
  • Heavy heals on those in bubbles - Keep an eye for the bubble-caught player. The damage while airborne isn't half as bad as the fall damage. Pre-emptively HoT them liberally and hope the priest's Leap of Faith saves them from the fall damage =P
  • Soon after tree, pop tranquility for a strong finish - Don't forget to barkskin with tranquility! I considered popping tranquility while being a tree for the extra healing bonus but found that people were mostly topped off simply while being a tree. And so, I chose to save tranquility for the second influx of massive damage to buy the raid more time. 
Note: Patch 4.1 will be bringing a lot of changes to restoration such as a cooldown reduction in tranquility and such. I'll update these healing write-ups when the patch goes live and my heal strategy changes, but for this weekend,  this is how I'll be taking on the baddies! Happy healing! =)

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